The Williams Fork River is best known for its tailwater section, which is released from the Williams Fork Reservoir, and flows into the Colorado River a few miles downstream of its origin. The Williams Fork tailwater fishes best when it has enough CFS to entice fish from the Colorado River to run up it ( lets say between 100-200 CFS). a solid population of midges, Baetis, PMD’s, and caddis exist in the Williams Fork below the dam. Also notable are mosquito’s that develop in this area, they are second only to the mighty mosquitos of Muddy Creek. Bring DEET, cover all skin, and wear bug nets during peek mosquito season. A light nymph rig is the norm for fishing this stretch of water, although strong hatches can produce solid dry fly fishing at times. Streamer fishing can also be good here in the fall.
Nymphs To Try: Mercer’s Poxy Back Micro Stone size 14-16 | TDJ Golden Stone size 14-16 | Ju-Ju Baetis natural or red size 20-22 | JuJu Bee midge brown size 18-22 | Desert Storm red or chartreuse 20-24 | Bling Midge grey or cream size 20-24 | Miracle Midge size 18-24 | Black Beauty size 18-24
Dries To Try: Parachute Adams size 14-24 | Solitude Midge olive size 18-22 | Brook Sprouts Midge black or grey size 20-24 | Trailing Shuck Midge dark size 20-24 | Griffith’s Gnat size 20-24
Streamers To Try: Chou’s Fortune Cookie brown/yellow size 04 | Sculpzilla black, olive , or natural size 8 | Bread and Butter Bugger size 04-06 | Near Nuff Sculpin olive, or tan, size 06 | Ishiwata’s Articulated Snitch olive size 06 | Bead Head Mini Leech Wine
River flows have been holding near 70 CFS throughout the winter, with water temps in the 30's through 40's. The water is very fishable here, but it might be a tough hike to the river with all the fresh snow we have gotten. Breaking the trail in could be rewarding though, come prepared with small midge larva, baetis nymphs, or size 18-24 dry flies. Attractor nymphs and small streamers can sometimes produce here as well.
Flows on the Fork have been been holding steady near 80 CFS over the last week, with consistent water temps in the high 30’s - low 40’s. There have been a few BWOs nymphs active, but the primary hatches at the moment are small midges. Pegged eggs and small steamers have also been producing some takes as well. Dry fly action has not been great here, but size 20-24 midge patterns are the best bet for the surface at the moment. Our go to technique has been a nymph rig with a pegged egg, or attractor style nymph in the lead, and small midge larva or BWO nymphs trailing behind.
Flows here are have been holding near 75 CFS, with water temps in the low 40s. This is a great time of year to fish the Williams Fork as it can hold some nice brown trout that have moved up from the Colorado. However keep in mind there has been quite a lot of angling pressure here lately, so don’t expect to have the river to yourself. A nymph rig with pegged eggs and small midge or Baetis patterns is a good bet at the moment. Small to medium sized streamers can also be very productive on some days here.
** Please be aware of spawning beds and do not wade on, or fish over them. **
The Williamsfork dropped in flow to near 25 CFS last week but is now back up to about 70 CFS for the time being, with water temps in the low 40's. The recent fluctuations in flow could affect the fishing here, but last week was good on the Fork. Egg imitations and streamers have been productive, however consider nymphing with imitations of golden stonelfies, caddis larva, Baetis, and midges as a back up plan.
Flows here are about 100 CFS with water temps in the 40’s, and the stream restoration work is finished. Brown trout should be holding in the Williams Fork for spawning, and rainbows often follow to eat loose eggs. Hatches include BWOs and midges, but stonefly nymphs, caddis larva, baitfish, and trout eggs are also food sources for trout here. A nymph rig, or small to medium sized streamers are the best here currently.
** Please be aware of spawning beds and do not wade on, or fish over them. **
It sounds like the Williams Fork River restoration project by Denver Water is completed, you can read about it here….Denver Water Williams Fork Restoration completion
We haven’t fished here since the completion of the restoration, but it is a good time of year to fish the Fork, and also to check out the new stream features. BWOs, midges, and possibly eggs will be the top food sources here. Other mayfly nymphs, stonefly nymphs, and caddis larva will be available to trout opportunistically as well. A nymph rig, or small streamers are the best bet here currently.
Here is a bit more info on the Williams Fork restoration project by Denver Water, it sounds like restoration will continue for a couple of weeks…..
The Williams Fork tailwater is still undergoing restoration, but the word is that anglers are already catching fish in some of the improvement areas. However the water clarity down stream of the restoration work has been turning off color during work hours. You can read up on the restoration work on the CPW facebook page here..... CPW Williams Fork Restoration
The Williams Fork is currently undergoing stream restoration in the mid to upper sections, so fishing here will not be the best as water will be very dirty once restoration work begins for the day. Throwing streamers and larger nymphs in the confluence area with the colorado could be one decent option with these current conditions.
The Williams Fork tailwater has taken a 100 CFS jump up to about 350 CFS, which is a bit high for this piece of water. However, it is starting to be the right time of year for Brown Trout to run up the Williams Fork from the colorado, and they will not mind the extra water. So don’t be afraid to fish here because of high flows, because you never know what size of aggressive fall Brown Trout you might find lurking here. Current hatches include Baetis, Tricos, and caddis for the most part. There are also still a lot of grass hoppers around so a hopper dropper rig could do the trick here, but with the current flows a nymph rig might work better to get through some of the faster current.
The Williams Fork has been fluctuating in flow quite a bit throughout the last few weeks, and is currently at about 250 CFS. This is higher than optimal here, but the excess water can be inviting for Brown Trout in the Colorado River that are getting ready to swim up tributaries such as the Williams Fork to spawn. These trout could be susceptible to small to medium sized streamers imitating juvenile trout and leaches. Terrestrial insects, stoneflies, caddis, Red Quills, Baetis, Tricos, and midges will also be important food sources at this time. A deeper dry-dropper rig, or a nymph rig will be good methods of presentation for these bugs currently. Concentrate on fishing wider areas of the river with riffles, back eddies containing hatched insects, or drop offs after shelves and other river structure.
The Williams Fork has been fluctuating in flow through out the week, and is currently at about 110 CFS. This flow is a good flow to fish here, but fish could be a little unsettled from the inconsistent water levels recently. Hatches have included caddis, PMDs, BWOs, Tricos, and Midges. Hopper-dropper fishing can be a great technique here when flows are around 100 CFS and below.
The Williams Fork has been flowing close to 100 CFS for the last few days, down form about 160 CFS earlier in the week. This flow is starting to be on the low side of things for this stream, but is still very fishable. Fish can start getting spooky, and heading back to the Colorado river if flows start dropping below 50 CFS, but this is not the case currently. Expect to see hatches of midges, BWOs, PMDs, smaller caddis, Yellow Sallies, and Tricos. Terrestrial insects are also abundant in the fields surrounding the Williams Fork.
A hopper-Dropper Set up can be a great tool for fishing the Fork at its current flow. Use a small to medium sized hopper with a lightweight dropper if fish are feeding near the surface. Otherwise a nymph rig featuring natural imitations of active aquatic insects dropped under an indicator and split shot should do the trick.
The Williams Fork has just dropped to about 140 CFS, and this is just about a perfect flow for fishing here. Trout will have plenty of good holding, and feeding zones thought the entire stream. However angling pressure has been high here, and the mosquitos have been pretty obnoxious. Midges, BWOs, and a few caddis have been hatching higher up the Williams Fork, while more PMDs, Yellow Sallies, and larger caddis are seen more towards the confluence with the Colorado River. Terrestrial bugs are also around in good numbers, and trout have been feeding on them when they are blown into the water.
A hopper-dropper set up can be very effective here when trout are feeding in the upper water column. However a nymph rig is needed on days when hatches are slower, and fish are feeding towards the bottom of the stream.
The Williams Fork has been flowing around 200 CFS for about 2 weeks, which is a great holding level for trout.. Hatches have included Yellow Sallies, caddis, PMDs, BWOs, and midges. There are also abundant terrestrial insects in the surrounding meadows, so hopper patterns can also produce rises here.
Keep in mind that this river sees a lot of angling pressure, especially when it is closer to its average seasonal flows than most of the other rivers in the area which are still considered to be running slightly “high”. Consider downsizing your bugs and tippet sizes if fishing seems tough, and treat it like other highly pressured “tailwaters” such as the Blue River below Dillon Dam, the Dream Stream, or the Taylor River below Taylor Park Reservoir.
The Williams Fork tailwater has been holding near 200 CFS for the last week, which is a perfect flow to fish this stream. Trout have had time to adjust to current conditions, and should be comfortably settled in their lies, and on the look out for food. Hatches have been plentiful here, and have included Yellow Sallies, PMDs, caddis, a few Blue Wing Olives (Baetis), and midges.
Trout are equal opportunity feeders on both Nymphs and adult insects in the Williams Fork, so a variety of rigs could catch fish here. A dry-dropper rig featuring a size 18 bead head midge pattern run about 1.5’ deep has been productive when fished to trout feeding near the surface. A heavier nymph rig will be productive when hatches are slower, and trout are feeding closer to the bottom of the river.
The Williams Fork tailwater is currently declining in flow, and is currently holding near 260 CFS. Our favorite flows on the Fork are between 150 - 250 CFS, so now is a great time to fish this stretch of water. Current hatches include midges, Baetis, PMDs, Caddis, and Yellow Sallies.
The water is very clear and cold here, as most of it is filtered through the Williams Fork Reservoir. Due to the clear water and lower flows we are seeing here, tippet and fly sizes will need to be scaled down to smaller sizes. 4x and 5x tippet, in combination with size 16-22 flies will be the go to set up in the near future here. Trout can be caught both sub-surface and on the surface in the Williams Fork. Since the hike in is almost a mile we often bring two rods with us, one rigged up with dry flies, and one rigged up with nymphs.
The Williams Fork Tailwater has seen a steady decrease in flows all week, and is currently flowing in the mid 400 CFS range. Keep a look out for the time period when flows are in the 150-300 CFS range, as we consider that “prime time” for the Williams Fork. Current hatches include Giant Golden Stoneflies, Yellow Sallies, caddis, PMDs, a few Baetis, and midges.
A nymph rig is the most productive set up at the moment. We are usually running a Pats Rubber Leg, or similar stonefly imitation as our weight, followed by smaller caddis, mayfly, midge, and sally patterns. Also look for better dry fly, and dry-dropper action on this piece of water as flows drop.
Currently flowing about 800 CFS the Williams Fork is very high for its average size, but the water is normally clear due to the dam release from the reservoir. Some softer water can be found throughout the stream itself, but the most productive area at these flows is often the confluence with the Colorado River. Nymph fishing under an indicator with imitations of resident aquatic insects is your best bet or the time being. Expect to see Giant Golden Stoneflies, Yellow Sallies, PMD’s (medium sized mayflies, BWO’s (small mayflies), caddis, and midges. Streamers can also fish well here at higher flows.
**We are hearing rumors that the hike in from Ute Pass parking lot through the lower entrance of Bar J Lazy Ranch is closed for the time being. So plan on hiking in through the upper field, or from the Colorado River Access **
At 350 CFS the Williams Fork tailwater is a bit higher than our preferred stream flow, but it is still not a bad option for the time being. Higher flows do mean that there is plenty of water for fish from the colorado to move up and hold in. Expect caddis, Blue Wing Olives, yellow Sallies, worms, and midges to be on the menu. A nymph rig will probably buyout best bet for the time being, unless you prefer to strip some small to medium sized streamers, which could also be effective.
The flows on the Williamsfork tailwater have been fluctuating quite a bit recently. Keep an eye out for stable flows between 100 and 200CFS, which we believe are ideal for this stretch of water. Blue Wing Olive Mayflies, Caddis Larva, and Midges have been our go to bugs for the time being. Also keep larger Stonefly patterns in mind if you are fishing the confluence area with the Colorado River.